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HubSpot Redefines CRM in an Integrated Sales & Marketing Platform

This is not an objective view of the new HubSpot CRM product, as I am a HubSpot customer and a HubSpot reseller and have not yet had the opportunity of using it. 

It is a first impression from watching the demo video. 

Based on first impressions, Bravo HubSpot!, Bravo!

The new HubSpot CRM platform finally provides one single, integrated ecosystem to manage the complete customer life-cycle and it does the CRM work for you.

The new CRM capability combined with the new Sidekick product provides context, relevant information and enables salespeople to call or email directly with HubSpot. It captures your email or phone conversation with prospects, manages the status of the deal and populates company information and key players, making it so much easier to do your job as a salesperson.

I urge you to watch the video to expand your perception of the state of sales and marketing automation.

Best of all, its free in the HubSpot product.

Watch this video from 1.15 onwards.

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The Half Life of a Learned Skill is 5 years - Toward a New Culture of Learning

new culture of learningI was in the audience when John Seely Brown and Prof. Peter Denning took the stage at the SRII conference in San Jose, CA earlier this year - what a privilege
On each desk for the session was a small, but important book "A New Culture of Learning", written by John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas. 

According to Denning and Brown, "The half-life a learned skill is 5-years" - this means that much of what you learned 10 years ago is obsolete and half of what you learned 5 years ago is irrelevant.

This article and the review of A New Culture of Learning will be of interest to professionals in any field to encourage thinking about new ways of training, delivering and acquiring knowledge as no-one is immune from knowledge obsolescence.
It will be of particular interest to sales leaders, sales trainers and educators as it captures some of the comments made from the SRII stage during the Denning, Seely-Brown conversation. 

We simply cannot learn and know what we need to know to stay current, relevant and to lead, using the old ways of education/training and learning.

It means the learning experience itself must change, it must be immersive (doing it while learning, like white-water rafting), social involving peers,physical as well as virtual and available on-demand, via the cloud and delivered to mobile devices as well as PC's.

Why Read This?

The book, "A new Culture of Learning" is an important read for professionals, educators and trainers and food for thought for business leaders looking to the future. 
The big idea is to understand the profound changes brought about by technology. It's not about school reform. People are learning by doing and asking fresh questions.

Trainers and educators are looking for new approaches to sales training and on the job education, because traditional "product-focused" methods are producing poor outcomes from training investments.

Long ramp-times in technology sales remain a problem, yet product cycles are getting shorter. We have to learn faster and on the job. Buyers are self-educating and salespeople are being marginalized to the configuration and discounting-end of the buying process. Salespeople have to get better fast and this means learning new skills and competencies to remain relevant - and employed.

The Learning Process is Poorly Understood

What happens to learning when we move beyond the prior stable century and millennium of learning to the fluid 21st century, where technology is constantly changing and creating new opportunities to reinvent learning and knowing?

It's very disruptive to the educational establishment. "The past as a solution set is no longer a viable option", John Rendon.

The new learning culture is a familiar dynamic as it encompasses our notions of games, play & imagination.
  • Play is defined as tension between rules of game and freedom to act within the those rules.
  • Play happens within a medium for learning - it creates a culture in which information, ideas and passion grow.
  • A new culture of learning allows us to recognize, harness & institutionalize these ideas.
  • Requires a shift in thinking about education.

Arc of Life Learning

Arc of life learning comprises the daily activities in our lives that keep us learning, growing and exploring. Play, questioning and imagination are at the heart of arc of life learning.

We can augment learning in nearly every facet of education and stage of life, using peer learning and the process of creating and making or mastering something new. Learning requires content - which can be taught, skill -which can be mentored, and disposition - which can be cultivated.

The following concepts will be familiar to anyone who has ever played massively participative and immersive video games, such as World of Warcraft. 

We need to think about how from our first breath, we begin to learn; reflect on how children learn and the wonder of "why".

When we go to school and start being taught content so we can pass tests, we stop experiencing the wonder of learning and play.

There is a huge difference between learning and being taught.


      1. We live in a massive and fast evolving information network - with unlimited access to learning about anything.
      2. We are bounded and structured by our environments; we must exploit our ability to build and experiment within boundaries.
Neither of these frameworks alone does it, need both together and interplay in-between.
The new culture of learning gives freedom to make the general personal and to share personal experience that adds to the general flow of knowledge.

Why do we need it?

Traditional Education is Broken

Traditional education structures are no longer keeping up with pace of change. We need to move from this impersonal fact-based stimulus-response method to a learning environment. 

Environments don't break.

Lots of people are calling for the demolition of the traditional education system.
A better question is how will schools blend or fail to blend with the freedom and wealth of the digital information network
      • We need to evolve thinking from "fixing a problem" to "growing a solution".
      • Our traditional concept of teaching = learning about the World
      • New culture = learning through engagement within the World
From proving we "get it" to embracing what we don't know, questioning it and continuing to ask the questions to learn more and more incrementally and exponentially.

"Most of what we know will remain relatively unchanged for a long enough period to justify the effort of transferring it". This is a pitfall in 21st century thinking.

Ask anyone on the Internet 10 years ago, what's changed - everything.

Learning to embrace change is a new mantra. Learning is constant.

Learning is not an isolated process of absorption of facts that turn into knowledge, that was a 20th. Century education mindset.

We need to think of learning as a cultural and social process of constantly engaging the changing World around us.

Children and Play

Children make use of play and imagination to make sense of the constantly changing World around them to learn and grow. 
      • Play is how children make sense of the World
      • Play is a strategy for embracing change in a World in constant flux
Workplace learning is already a big initiative in innovative companies - keeping and growing good employees is the lifeblood of progressive companies - we need imagination and play at work in an environment to learn.

Most workplaces moribund.

The challenge is to marry structure and freedom to create something altogether new.

Peer-Peer Learning

      1. The old ways of learning can no longer keep up
      2. New media and digital are making peer-peer learning easier and more natural
      3. All equals, from teacher-student to mentors, guides and participants
      4. Not revolutionary, just ignored
      5. University students immersed in a peer learning environment, classroom 3-4 hours/day
Peer-peer learning is amplified by collective participation.

Learning collectives

Blogs are learning collectives. A good blog is a medium for learning and creates a space for a collective to emerge where personal experience can be shared and individuals learn and everyone in the collective benefits. - (So please make comments when you read something worthwhile, don't just like it.)

Toward a New Culture of Learning

Arc of life learning never stops. 
      • 21st. Century learning = doing, watching, experiencing
      • Current perception of learning filtered through lens of education. "You teach I learn"
University is a rich tacit immersion in an environment that values learning itself.
Surrounded by vast resources, academic culture, where students make connections among all resources. University life for students grounded in experience & deeply personal.

The new learning culture provides freedom to explore interests and passions within bounded constraints.

Traditional classroom Q&A was used to learn and master specific information. This is an obsolete model teaching obsolete facts.

Reverse it: Questions are more important than answers. Key to learning is not application of technique, but their invention. Asking questions to find answers that really matter to students is a continuous process and a starting point for learning - invites us to ask more and better questions.

Learning as inquiry: Results in useful information regardless of outcome.

Ask better questions using tacit knowledge + imagination. 
Indwelling + familiarity with ideas, processes & practices so it becomes 2nd nature. "Polanyi" 

Cornerstones: Knowing, Making & Playing

Knowing: You live to learn
Learning and the acquisition of knowledge has given humans all kinds of evolutionary advantages.

Knowing ->Shift from "what" to "where" - context is important in aconstantly changing world.

New information economy is more about how to find and evaluate information on a given topic and less about a stockpile of information and facts.

Making: Putting context to what is being created- through hands on experience - carries more of the message.

Playing is increasingly important.

Playing Example: World of Warcraft

Massively Multiplayer Online Games MMOG's, such as World of Warcraft are large complex, constantly evolving social systems; their perpetual newness is part of the attraction.

Players learn by experimentation, play with tools in a virtual world, repeatedly making adjustments and recording results.

MMOG's accommodate different learning modes, players use methodical trial and error experimentation or intuitively letting experience guide steps.

New culture of learning nurtures collective indwelling. The group learns and knows new things through doing and experiencing.

Prior to now, not possible, lacked ability, resources to make it scalable and powerful.

With access to endless supply of collectives, learning driven by passion and play is poised to significantly alter and extend our ability to think, innovate and discover in ways not previously possible.



But a word of caution, gamification is only a part of the puzzle and "mandated play isn't really play" Suart Luman.

The new culture of learning allows us to ask questions that have never before been imaginable.

After reading this book, you will have more questions than answers about how to begin to create a new culture of learning in your life and your company... and that I suspect is precisely the author's intention.

Read the book

Chris Anderson: Makers - The New Industrial Revolution (Video)

makersI read an article today that mentioned Chris Anderson (former editor of Wired Magazine) and his presentation on Vimeo entitled, Makers: the New Industrial Revolution. I was so enthralled with his talk I wanted to share it.

"The idea of a factory is in a word, changing. Just as the Web democratized innovation in bits, a new class of rapid prototyping technologies, from 3D printers to laser cutters, is democratizing innovation in atoms. You think the last two decades were amazing? Just Wait." Chris Anderson.

The stories are personal and compelling and the examples of his own and his familes use of these now almost free technologies are a lesson for parents, grandparents and our children.

This video was made in Feb 2013 at the Confluence Maker event in Rome Georgia, USA. It runs for one hour, but you will not want to turn it off once you get going.

Turn Marketing Messaging & Sales Content into Sales Conversations

unstructured contentAsk any marketer or sales enablement professional how many marketing/sales messaging projects they have completed or participated in the past 10 years and you will hear anywhere from none to over a dozen.

Ask those same professionals, how many of those projects actually paid a dividend on the investment and effort to create them and you will get a lot of head shaking.

Who needs more messaging that fails to deliver?

There are many reasons why messaging fails to deliver value, but these three are top of my list:
  • Messages are internally focused and product-centric, and not relevant to stakeholders,
  • Messaging is not in from that is immediately usable by salespeople (trapped in document containers, in portals),
  • Salespeople don’t have the right skills to use it.
Once a messaging project is completed and delivered, usually in Word documents, or PowerPoint, the messaging is emailed to the sales team, uploaded into a Portal somewhere and then it becomes invisible. 

The problem with this traditional approach is that the core messaging is not converted into content that can be easily used and shared in the different forms required by salespeople, sales enablement professionals and marketers who need it.

Think of messaging as source material, to be mined and reworked to create content to bring it to life.

Jim Burns of Avitage, published a great article in the Selling Power blog yesterday, entitled, "Turn Content into Sales Currency" and I excerpted some of following text to illustrate my point on content.

Why Salespeople Need Unstructured Content

Messaging must be enriched and freed from its container to become useful as content.

Once text is freed from container, it becomes unstructured content.
But unstructured content can be more than just text and includes images, video, graphics, audio and hyperlinks.

Salespeople need inventories of unstructured content that is buyer-relevant and sales-ready for the top 3 customer problems, selling purpose, buyer’s role, buying stage and even industry context. 

Specific examples of inventories include the following:
  • Emails & LinkedIn messages (for all key selling scenarios and versions)
  • Customer stories and proof points
  • Facts, trends, and research findings
  • Answers to customer questions and objections
  • Tweetables and LinkedIn and Google+ short posts
  • Curated articles (company and third party) with summary explanations
  • Key messages – recommended language and phrases
  • Links to key blog posts and landing pages
Recently I completed the initial phase a joint project for a global technology company with Jim Burns of Avitage. We collaborated on a sales and marketing message and content development, which included creating much of the above unstructured content.

This project was a learning experience for me in creating a new library of unstructured, sales-ready content assets using the Avitage content creation methodology. 
These assets are built from foundational messaging templates, but created in an unstructured form that can be easily accessed and immediately used by salespeople. They are delivered in the WittyParrot content delivery platform and are easily maintained, curated, shared and enriched on an ongoing basis.

If you would like to take your company's sales and marketing content to a higher level, I invite you to use my schedule link to set a convenient time for us to talk. 


Mark Gibson's Guide to Carmel and the Monterey Peninsula

18th pebble


Pebble Beach, Carmel and the Monterey Peninsula are jewels that are not to be missed on a trip to Northern California. Lots of friends in the technology business from Silicon Valley and all over World visit us here in Pebble Beach and we get many similar questions. This is a quick reference guide for first-time visitors and those who would like to know more about visiting Carmel-Monterey area. 

"If I had only one more round to play, I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach. I've loved this course from the first time I saw it. - Jack Nicklaus.

This is the 18th at Pebble Beach, taken from The Bench... imagine yourself here.

"Pebble is a piece of sacred ground. They say it's the greatest meeting of land and water in the world." - Johnny Miller

"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco" 
Mark Twain did not say this, however it's good advice for visitors - bring a jacket. The temperature in the region varies between 45-70, it's seldom hot, but often cool. Lots of people get a shock when they arrive from the Bay Area; when the temperature is in the 90's in San Jose, it can be 60F in Monterey/Carmel, due to the predominate maritime influence and in particular the onshore marine effect which delivers fog to much of coastal California in summer. Best weather is from mid-September to June. October is hottest month. December and January are also warm and sunny.

If you are planning to fly to the West Coast to come to Carmel/Monterey, why not fly in and out of the Monterey Airport. You'll like the no-waiting security line, also an excellent restaurant for a meal before you depart and the extra you have to pay for the airfare is saved in travel time and hassle getting to and from Bay Area.

Who should read this?

This guide isn't for everyone. It's what we like and find attractive, interesting, tasteful and of value. If you are under 35, you might find this list a bit staid and prefer the more popular and vibrant attractions in Monterey, Cannery Row and Fisherman's Wharf.

When we go out to dinner, we prefer the casual company of well traveled friends, excellent service, consistently good food and a strong wine list and where you feel you have received value for the hard-earned money you have spent.

There are plenty of other attractions in the region that I have not discussed and that we have not been to - and we hope you have fun discovering them....please feel free to add your comments to this blog in the comments section below... and please visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium it's a must for any first time visitor of any age. 

Why did we do it?

We love this place and have been coming here for 20 years playing golf and having fun. My wife Robin has always wanted to live here and we got that opportunity in 2010, after we returned from living in St Andrews, Scotland for 7 years. We hope by sharing this that you will enjoy some of the best things down here, save time not having to research yourself and enjoy quality food and wine without spending the earth.

The Outdoors

Big Sur

Walking, viewing scenery, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, the best views on the drive from Carmel to Big Sur... it takes longer than you think it will because you will make frequent photo stops.

Point Lobos

Walking and wild-life, outstanding photography of diverse landscape. 5 minutes from Carmel and stunning surf-spray when the swells get over 20 feet in winter... scary but awesome

Elkhorn Slough

  • Kayaking - first rate rental equipment and fairly safe, they make you wear all the clobber which you can hire - (given that kayaks have about the highest fatality rate of anything you can do on the water) - you can swim to the shore and it's seldom rough.
  • Rafts of Sea Otters - that's what you call a bunch Otters that float around together.
  • While you are in Moss Landing, enjoy the fish and chips at Phil's fish market for lunch.

Garrapata State Park

Beach access, walking.

Pebble Beach 17 Mile Drive

Walking, scenery, photography, picnic tables.

Garland Ranch

Walking trails, sunny when its foggy in Carmel.



Recently renovated, outstanding, both courses great, Blackhorse easier, should run under $100 inc. cart.

Poppy Hills

Reopened after renovation. Much improved layout, more fun, better greens, everything is better.

Old Del Monte

Old fashioned layout, small greens, sunny when it's foggy weather.

Monterey Peninsula CC

Private: Both courses outstanding, get a friend to organize a game, most ocean views of all the courses.

Spanish Bay

Interesting, hard, some true links golf, be prepared to lose >6 balls per round if you are not hitting it straight.


Hard, long, play the whites unless you like humiliation.

Quail Lodge

When its foggy in Pebble, its sunny and fun to play here.

Pebble Beach

This is going to run you over $500, but its a bucket-list must-play!

Cypress Point

  • Very Private, Bing Crosby was a member. 
  • Few will play here. The closest most people get is the road that swings past around Cypress Point.
  • This is the finest course I have ever played and I've had the pleasure 3 times.
  • You can go in to the pro-shop and buy an expensive logo-ed shirt or hat - they won't bite you…they just don't want tour buses pulling up.
The 16th at Cypress Point - A 180 yard par 3 into the wind, I hit driver to pin high. 


Pacific Grove

A favorite, sand dabs (a local, sweet, shallow-water fish) outstanding as a starter, best lamb on the best, mesquite-grill, great wine list. Say hello to Pierre for me, French Provencale.
Pebble Beach Insiders love this place - me too, older crowd, great food, service, bargain wines, say hello to Calvin or Michele for me.
Seafood and great wine program
Point Pinos Grill at PG Golf Links
Unsung, but serious food, good value


Busy, American
Indian - ask for it normal spice or it gets dumbed down for American palates and bottoms.
Siamese Bay
Thai - Don't ask for it hot unless you are a masochist


Tapas and vibe, Tempranillo, love this place.
Tommy Woks
Best Chinese - take out, insanely busy, no atmosphere, but food from the wok is fantastic.
Flying Fish
Busy, book
Dametra Cafe
Mediterranean, fun and entertaining, recently doubled inside, so less waiting.
Good pasta, pizza, salumi, sophisticated Vibe, home made mozzarella, love this place.
Andre's Bouchet
Good French traditional and strong French wine-list.
Carmel Grill
Unpretentious, comfortable, reasonable.

Pebble Beach

Roy's, at Spanish Bay
Lunch - have the Asian Chicken Salad with a bottle of Riesling from Germany or Austria.
Stillwater Grill at the Lodge at Pebble Beach
View is worth paying for.

Poppy Hills
Renovated inside as well as the course. Great dining room for lunch or breakfast 7 days a week.

Carmel Valley

Cafe Rustica
French Provincial, a favorite, great for lunch, sit outside
Vineyard Bistro
Breakfast and lunch, al fresco
Baja Cantina
A new find and a hidden gem and fun place to stop on the way back from a wine tasting session in Carmel Vallety for a few cleansing ales. Really good Mexican food, great bar, and party atmosphere. Vintage automobile memorabilia. Thursday night is old car night and an R&B band... book or get there before 5PM.

Breakfast Places
Busy, people spotting
Carmel Belle
After breakfast check out the hat shop in the arcade - excellent hat selection

Pacific Grove
Holly's Lighthouse Cafe

The Bakeries

Paris Bakery
Pacific Grove
Pavel's Bakerie - best 3 seed, 9 grain bread on the planet, chocolate croissants have a wonderful ganache. Closed Sunday
Patisserie Bechler - fruit tarts

Real Ale Pubs

Pacific Grove
Cannery Row Brewing Company
70+ beers on tap

Alvarado Street Bewery
New gastro, brew-pub, buzzy, busy, good food and strong line-up of in-house and guest ales.
Crown and Anchor
Feels like I'm back in London 30 years ago.
Britannia Arms

As close to an English Pub as you can get without the hand-pumped, real ale.
Peter B's Brewpub
In the Portola Hotel

La Playa Hotel
Not your usual bar. Old World bar and a distinctly South of France feel in this hotel. No restaurant, but great bar and lounge, great ales on tap.

Hog's Breath Saloon
Clint Eastwood sold this place 20 years ago, but its still a good spot on a warm day - heaters if its cold.

Driving tours

River Rd. - Jolon - Ferguson-Naciemento Rd - Big Sur
A great day trip; start at Whole Foods, Monterey to pick up a picnic lunch, stop at Hahn for a tasting and pick up a bottle of wine for lunch; picnic at the San Antonio mission at Jolon in Ft Hunter Ligget....beautiful country. A white knuckle drive over the Ferguson-Naciemento Rd up to 3,000 ft. on a narrow Rd. (See "B" Movie, The Wages of Fear to adequately prepare for the drive) - to the coast and stop for a drink at Nepenthe in Big Sur, for stunning views and a bottle of wine from one of the best wine lists between SF and LA. After quenching your thirst, go across the road for dinner at Ventana...serious food and views. If you really want to splurge, Post Ranch is top of the charts and expensive - book to avoid disappointment.

Hearst Castle

Just 90 miles and 2 hours drive from Carmel, but a World apart. Hearst Castle is an unforgettable experience and one to be savored. A visit to the upstairs rooms should be reserved in advance to avoid waiting for afternoon availability.
Lunch at Sebastians general store and a wine tasting of the Hearst Wines in the old Whaling station is a must. A walk onto the jetty and a close up look at whales in the bay in the season. A beautiful drive over the Santa Lucia Highlands on a great new road and a stop to taste wines in Paso Robles in the afternoon. Dinner at the Taproom restaurant at the Firestone Walker Brewery in Paso Robles caps off a great day with a 2 hour drive back to Carmel.

Big Sur/Rocky Point

  • Big Sur - If it's a clear day, go there and enjoy your day, finest scenic views on the West Coast are en-route from Carmel to Big-Sur.
  • Rocky Point Burgers for lunch if you have limited time - go for the view, food is incidental
  • California Cafe at Highlands Inn for lunch, the views are terrific, if you have even less time.
River Rd - Arroyo Seco - Carmel Valley
Solid half day trip, wineries and scenery, there must be 10 tasting rooms in Carmel Valley

Moss Landing

Rafts of Otters, Surf Beach when the swell is up, kayaking, fresh fish and chips for lunch.

17 Mile Drive
Inside Pebble Beach is worth the $10 price of admission....which will be refunded if you buy anything at the restaurants or bars in Pebble Beach.

After 5 cocktails

Clint's Place

Mission Ranch, Carmel - Clint Eastwood sightings are common later in the week after 8.00. Great place for people-watching & cocktails outside, admiring the view toward Pt. Lobos.
 Mission Ranch, Carmel is a favorite spot on a sunny late afternoon

The Fire Pits Spanish Bay

Bring a jacket, it's usually cool, cold if the breeze is blowing. 

Cypress Inn

Dog lovers, love this place. Classy cabaret singer on Friday, Saturday from 7PM

The Bench - Pebble Beach

Good line up of real ales, fine wines, classy place - book for dinner

Take your own picnic and favorite tipple to the picnic tables on corner of 17 mile Drive and Ocean Ave inside Pebble Beach and enjoy beautiful views and the sound of the sea a few yards away.

Concours de Carmel

This is a free warm-up to the Concours de Elegance, held in mid August each year and several hundred cars line up for up-close public viewing in Ocean Ave. Carmel. 
My daughter Olivia at last year's event standing next to a Cadillac 1947 Club Coupe.

A Warning

Monastery Beach and Carmel River Beach are two of the most dangerous beaches on the West Coast and claim unwitting victims every year. I have seen kids playing on these beaches unattended, running down to the waters edge and back up the beach to escape the breaking waves.... only to be bowled over and in serious trouble from a double wave or a bigger wave.

Also sitting on rocks close to the water can be fatal.
Never let your kids play on these beaches as big wave sets can come from nowhere (even on a seemingly calm day) and knock little ones - and adults over. The beaches are very steeply shelving so within one or two paces you are up to your neck and swimming in icy water against strong rips. Be warned and if you have kids, take them to the Carmel River Lagoon where the water is warm and safe - except for the normal pollutants.

Expert Prospecting Tips eBook


Lead generation has never been more difficult.

Inbound marketing, email marketing, social selling, cold calling, referral based selling; - you name it, any way that you can reliably generate quality leads that works for your business is goodness.

Capture Tribal Sales Knowledge - When it Happens (Video)

Sales & Marketing Content Creation Delivery eBookWhat's the use of capturing tribal sales knowledge if no-one can find it to use it and how do you know what to look for if you don't know the question to ask?

These are good questions and they were asked of me last week by a sales VP at a fast-growing Silion Valley startup.

His problem is that new hire salespeople find their technology difficult to position. He added that there are many new hires in the sales team as a result of a recent "series-B" funding event and that they get quite a few technical questions that they have difficulty answering". We have invested in product training and in building a great sales Portal, however the questions are often situational in the sales process:
  • What do I do when this happens? 
  • How should I handle this configuration issue? 
  • Where can I find out about this use-case, who knows about this?
This results in salespeople reverting to SME's for answers as default behavior, without taking enough time to find answers for themselves. 

I explained that part of the problem is behavioral, salespeople will take the path of least resistance. If it's quicker to pick up the phone or jump on Yammer and ask a question than looking in a portal for an answer, they will.

The other problem is that knowledge management systems applied to capture sales tribal knowledge have been hit and miss. It has to be effortless for anyone to capture knowledge 
and index it, and it has to be dead-simple to find and use it, or knowledge management systems will not get used.

Creating an environment where people want to share what they know and proactively capturing it is a management challenge in itself.

I have been consulting to WittyParrot and using their new content organization and delivery platform for one year now and recently created a 1-minute video to illustrate how easy it is to capture and share tribal knowledge.


30 Lessons from the 30 day HubSpot Blogging Challenge

hubspot sources.1.314Yesterday I published an article on the WittyParrot website about our experience and learnings from the 30 day HubSpot Blogging Challenge in January 2014. Below is an excerpt.

I joined WittyParrot as VP Marketing in July 2013 and recommended that WittyParrot use HubSpot for Inbound Marketing. 

There were no other candidates in our evaluation as I have been working with HubSpot for 5 years and have implemented it in 7 other technology companies. 

I did not need convincing of the underlying, technology, methodology or ROI on effort and investment… it works as advertised. 

We installed the software in July and began work on the new Website for the company launch in October.

We chose the HubSpot Enterprise system because we expect WittyParrot to scale rapidly and need the full functionality of the enterprise system from the start, even though we were starting from scratch.
When HubSpot announced the 30 day blogging challenge, we accepted the challenge as we were beginning to see the fruits of our early blogging effort with the direct correlation between a great blog and leads that followed.
Read the article in full ...

HubSpot 5 Year Review - The Best Keeps Getting Better.

hubspot trafficDecember 2013 marked the end of our 5th year as HubSpot customers and 4th year as HubSpot partners.  

You can read prior reviews here:
HubSpot Review Year 1
HubSpot Review Year 2
HubSpot Review Year 3 
HubSpot Review Year 4

I realize now that we were very early adopters of an important new paradigm in marketing and one from which there is no turning back, once the journey is begun.
2013 marked the year that inbound marketing “crossed-the-chasm” from the realm of the early adopter into the early majority in the cycle of adoption of discontinuous technology.
HubSpot, in 2008 had a few hundred customers and the product compared to today was crude and limited in function.

It was basic and unsophisticated, but perfectly functional for content creation and inbound marketing as it was then.  

Today HubSpot is a company of more than 400 employees, 10,000+ customers and more than 1000 partners. The product is unrecognizable from its early beginnings and leads the industry in functionality and usability.
In short, the product is a complete integrated tool-set for inbound marketing, which if used in conjunction with the HubSpot methodology will produce predictable and measurable results, a high ROI and a content legacy that will produce traffic and leads for years to come. 

There are no short-cuts to inbound marketing success. The product and the methodology works as advertised. The results are tangible, progress is visible – or otherwise.  

The chart shows our traffic and leads and sources for the past 5 years.

In May 2013, I began a marketing consulting with a sales and marketing messaging alignment project WittyParrot, an exciting new Bay Area technology company. You can download my new eBook Sales and Marketing Alignment, Content Capture and Reuse which is a result of that engagement on their new website; one of the first on the new Enterprise Hubspot COS, which went live in late October.

Most of my effort is now going into WittyParrot in the role of VP Marketing, which explains the drop in traffic on Admarco.

The first 100 days with WittyParrot have been astonishing and I will write about that in a different article.

Crossing the Chasm into an Avalanche of Content

5 years ago it was relatively easy to rank for long tail keywords, with search volumes less than 200 per month.
You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to create optimized on-page SEO with HubSpot, it was common sense (and still is) with a well though-out set of keywords. We never spent a day building back-links, we bought into the quality content creation strategy and decided to let this drive our success.

If you wrote a solid article every week, followed the HubSpot methodology, it got read, tweeted and shared on LinkedIn and it was not unusual for a small business like ours to get 200-300 visits for an article and to rank for important keywords in a few weeks or months.
Publishing a new eBook or white paper could produce hundreds of downloads in a day.  

Five years later it is much harder to create content that ranks in Google.

It’s much harder to get people to read your stuff and download your Top of Funnel offers.

People are buried under an avalanche of content and most of its mediocre.

Quality is King

Content is no longer king, it’s suffocating me and I want to turn the volume off, or at least way down. 

Dr Mani’s brilliant article, published on the WittyParrot website, “whittle down and tune-in” highlights the problem and a solution.

Counter-intuitively, Dr. Mani suggests that smaller is better than big when it comes to social networks. 

That is you have to reduce the size of your social network to improve the quality of your interactions.  

I’m much more selective who I follow and what I read because there is so much of it coming past every day. 

I have no time for spammy email, I only read a few LinkedIn group postings and I’m very selective about the email open.
On content that I create, I strive to write original and thought provoking content and after 500 blog posts I’m getting better at writing.  

Quality is everything.
But this is old news.

Inbound Sales = Content + Context

HubSpot is leading the inbound sales movement in the same way they led the inbound marketing movement.
Buyers are most likely to be receptive to a conversation with a vendor/supplier when they are on your Website, when they are viewing a video or reading your content.   

Would you prefer, an in-context conversation with an informed salesperson who is offering help when you are actively engaged in exploring options? 

Or would you rather take a call from a sales closer who is trying to make their number this month, a week after you downloaded a white paper?  

Or perhaps an endless stream of canned email that someone has spent a lot of time in a marketing automation and designed for your “persona” hoping it will strike a chord? 
Download the guide to building highly responsive sales teams to find out more.

Real-time Signals
Responsive engagement in real-time in the buyer’s context seems intuitively to be a better strategy for engaging and facilitating buyers vs. programmatic canned responses.  

Signals is a new product incubated within HubSpot that facilitates real-time engagement, which is integrated with HubSpot, but is available as a stand-alone product.  

I tried Signals when it was released – and I could immediately see in real-time when someone opened my email or clicked on a link and watched a video or downloaded something.  

I was hooked on the product after a one-month free trial and gladly pay the $10 per month for the premium version.  

New Content Optimization System.

Hooray for the new CMS. The old one was a dog. I have not fully mastered the new COS yet, but its powerful, fast and positions HubSpot as a leader in terms of function and modularity and adaptive output… and did anyone mention it’s the fastest CMS out there?  

The Future

No doubt the content avalanche will continue and get bigger, but not better.  
HubSpot will continue to deliver tools that anticipate solutions to the problems and give us finer control over who and what we tune into.
I’m hoping to see the excellent HubSpot contacts system evolve more CRM functionality so that I can switch off system as it adds marginal value to HubSpot.  

The future belongs to the innovators who combine Responsiveness with Context and where their sales and marketing organizations deliver insight.  

HubSpot is setting a brisk pace for innovation and leading the transformation of the marketing industry.

The future is very bright for HubSpot and I’m glad to be a part of it.

One for the Golfers - George Peper's Guided Tour of St Andrews

the central bar, st andrewsThis is not a sales or marketing blog, but may be of interest to the golfers who read this column. I had the distinct pleasure of living in the home of golf, St Andrews, Scotland from 2003-2010 and count George Peper, featured in this video as one of my friends.

Here is the eloquent George Peper, editor of Links Magazine giving you a guided tour of the "Auld Grey Toon" of St Andrews... gives me a lump in my throat to watch this.

I agree with George, if you are a golfer and have not been to St Andrews, then you are missing one of the greatest experiences the game has to offer and for a father and son bonding experience, nothing beats it. (Best advice for mothers and daughters is head for Paris on the train when you land at Heathrow). 

I disagree with George on pubs however and rate The Central (below) as the best pub in the town and the champion "real ale" pub in Scotland... and you are bound to find a lot of locals (and students) here, to get some true Scottish atmosphere.

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